60 Photos of Sally Field Like You've Never Seen Her Before

By Sarah Norman | August 7, 2023

Sally Field At Cannes Film Festival In Cannes, France On May 17, 1979

Sally Field might be small, but she is mighty. Equal parts cute – as demonstrated from her performances in Gidget and The Flying Nun – and feisty like her Norma Rae character and strong like the characters she played in Steel Magnolias and Places in the Heart. Let’s take a look through the life and career of this effervescent icon of the American cinema to see why we like her… we really like her.

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(getty images)

In 1979, Sally Field made her way to the sunny shores of the Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of her film Norma Rae. While the film may not have taken home the coveted Palme d'Or, Sally was the real star of the show. She walked away with the prize for Best Actress at the festival, sending shockwaves through the industry and solidifying her place as one of Hollywood's leading ladies.

This was only the beginning of her award run for the film, as she later went on to win the Academy Award for her standout performance as the titular character. It was a triumphant moment for Sally, who had already proven her versatility as an actress but now was receiving recognition for her powerful dramatic work. While speaking about the film's response at the festival she said:

Cannes was an enormous experience for me, a high point in my life. When the film was over, the lights came on, big searchlights were on Marty Ritt and myself, we stood up, they began to applaud and cheer in a way that Americans don't do. They clap and they hoot, but this was the legendary 'bravo' that just got louder and louder. It went on for about 10 or 15 minutes and I am not exaggerating, so I started to cry, because when I was a child I used to lay in bed and dream about becoming Miss America or being elected President of the United States, and I would stand in front of a mirror literally pretending I was having a standing ovation. I had my act all rehearsed of how I was going to respond, but when it really happened to me the first time in my life, I started to cry and I was shaking all over, and the harder I cried, the louder they clapped, so it was a very emotional moment.

Sally Field, Ready to Revamp Her Image and Take More Dramatic Roles

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After the cancellation of her 1973-1974 television show, The Girl with Something Extra, Field studied with renowned acting teacher Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in hopes of honing her acting chops and preparing for more challenging roles. Strasberg became Field's mentor. Under his guidance and tutelage, she expanded her skills as a performer, but more importantly, Strasberg helped her move beyond her former image. It took a little while before the studios took notice of her more mature image, but Field finally got her chance to prove her chops.